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Home / Up and close with the amazingly-talented Tjihero siblings

Up and close with the amazingly-talented Tjihero siblings

2022-03-25  Carlos Kambaekwa

Up and close with the amazingly-talented Tjihero siblings

The garden town of Okahandja, located about 70km north of Namibia’s commercial city Windhoek, is a unique town, boasting a stinking-rich history, ranging from war crimes committed by German intruders to being home to the first-ever high school for natives (Bantus) - the Augustineum training college - and many other historical monuments. The town is also home to a significant number of phenomenal athletes, footballers in particular, musicians, outstanding community and church leaders, politicians, and schoolteachers.  Some of the celebrated, unheralded heroes from that neck of the woods are Engelhardt ‘Larney’ Gariseb, Oscar Mengo, Doc Hardley, Axali Doeseb, Ace Tjirera, Doc Naobeb, George Gariseb, Joshua Haufiku, Jesse Diergaardt, Brazzo Gomusab, Theobaldt Katuzesirauina, Kiro Makati, Jomo Haoseb, Congo Hindjou, Elebi Gariseb, Richard Gariseb, Peter Katjavivi, and a dozen others. However, none have caught the imagination of the neutral fan than the amazingly highly-gifted Tjihero siblings. In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sport feature, Tales of the Legends, profiling our sport heroes and heroines present and posthumously, New Era Sport goes inside the warm family home of the sports-crazy Tjihero siblings.  



Born and bred in the garden town of Okahandja to Festus and Maria Meroro-Tjihero, the energetic, sports-crazy light-skinned Tjihero siblings were all destined for greatness since their formative years. After all, their old man Festus was a formidable defender for Nau-Aib outfit Zebras FC, the precursor to Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC), back in the day. 

History reveals that second-eldest son Albert, then aged 19, was the first player to captain the Blacks Invitational 11 in the historic exhibition match between the all-whites and blacks 11 in 1975. He would go on to represent his motherland in the prestigious South Africa Inter-Provincial Currie Cup tournament with great aplomb. 

Albert also won several accolades with Katutura glamour football club African Stars, including the historic cup double, the national league title/and the coveted Mainstay Cup in the maiden season of mixed-race football in apartheid South West Africa (SWA) in 1977 during a flawless illustrious football career that stretched close to two solid decades. 

Younger brothers Jamanuka and Bimbo were also great footies in their own right. The latter successfully skippered the national senior football team, the Brave Warriors, during their golden era that saw the Namibian amateurs defy all odds stacked against them to qualify for the prestigious biannual Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Burkina Faso in 1998. 

Elder brother Gebhardt ‘Hoffman’ was a no-nonsense rugby player during his time at the revered St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra), playing for the school’s senior rugby 15. 

Another younger sibling, Alex, although he was completely different from his sport-crazy brothers, played a bit of school football and tennis, but eventually joined the fray in the later stages, albeit in a somewhat awkward fashion when he tied the knot with Namibia’s leading hoops-rattler Jatjinda ‘Toetsie’ Kambatuku-Tjihero. 

Younger sisters Pahee and Laura Kapena were noted netballers during their prime. The latter represented her native land in several high-profile august gatherings, including the quadrennial All Africa Games in Harare, Zimbabwe, and the World Netball Championship in Birmingham, England. 

Elder sisters Agatha (late) and Erica also made their mark on the netball courts with distinction during their school days. 

The old adage that an apple doesn’t fall too far away from the tree seems to have played her hand big-time within the Tjihero clan. Erica’s daughter Maggy Mengo, arguably the country’s finest female hockey player of all time, is having no intention of letting the family legacy down. 

Maggy has been manufacturing breathtaking performances on the hockey field. The cat-footed beauty singlehandedly steered the Namibian senior women’s hockey team to World Cup qualification at the expense of big sister South Africa, on two different occasions. 

A chip off the old block, the multi-talented Maggy was also a noted netballer and sprinter on the athletics track, representing Namibia at junior level before turning her full attention to hockey. She would go on to play professional indoor hockey in The Netherlands for leading club Kampong. It is certainly no mean feat.     

And who says there’s no life after sport? 

Off the field, the ambitious Tjihero siblings are all well-respected exemplary citizens in various fields. Laura is the current chief executive officer of the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP). Elder sister Pahee is an accomplished veteran lecturer at the University of Namibia (Unam). 

As it stands, Albert ranks amongst the most successful indigenous Namibian Brahman cattle-breeding commercial farmers in the country, while younger brother Bimbo, a part-time commercial farmer, heads the marketing department of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC). Both Juppie (Alex) and Jamanuka are also commercial farmers, with business interests in retail outlets. 

Maggy is the proud holder of an honours degree in finance and accounting from the University of Amsterdam, Holland, courtesy of her astonishing display on the hockey fields that propelled her to land a lucrative scholarship. She currently holds the plum position of head of marketing and branding at Standard Bank Namibia.

2022-03-25  Carlos Kambaekwa

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